How to keep your furnace firing during this record cold snap

As Canada deals with temperatures dipping to record lows, there are a few ways you can keep the heat on inside your home.

Change your filters, shovel your snow and don't be afraid to call for help

Tony Obeid with Fahrhall Home Comfort Specialists offers a few tips to keep your home heated. 0:59

A winter cold snap across Canada is leaving some families without heat, wondering where it all went wrong.

One furnace repair shop in Windsor is getting more than 100 calls a day for non-functioning furnaces as temperatures dip to record lows this holiday season.

"It's been going crazy now," said Tony Obeid, who has spent more than two decades with Fahrhall Home Comfort Specialists.

"Because of the cold, cold weather that's out there now all these furnaces are working super hard just trying to keep up with what's going on."

Quick tips to avoid cold nights

"There's a lot of people out there that didn't maintain their equipment and that's the biggest problem," said Obeid, who actually cut his vacation short this year to help with the extra call volume. 

His big tip is for people to clean out their furnace filters — larger ones at least once a year, smaller ones about once a month during the cold winter months

Obeid's other big tip is to change the way you clear snow from your house, specifically the vents and pipes connected to your furnace. 

"If that snow gets inside here it's going to shut down," Obeid said. 

Those pipes suck in air to help the furnace run but if it starts collecting snow then the moisture will cause problems that could kill your furnace, he said.

Most parts inside your furnace will need expertise to repair, said Obeid, but if homeowners do a regular maintenance call in warmer months it could help keep the furnace kicking on freezing nights.

"It's just like driving your car," said Obeid. "You wouldn't drive your car for a full year [without] a tune-up."

Cook pasta, buy space heaters

If your furnace decides to stop pumping out heat, Obeid said there are a few things you'll need to do.

"You shouldn't be using your stove to heat your house up," he said. "You can bake a cake or something like that, make some pasta — you know what I mean?"

Tony Obeid explains how you can keep your family safe when your furnace busts. 0:45

Heat your house strategically with space heaters in key rooms to avoid more issues, such as burst pipes.

"You want to at least keep it above freezing in your house," Obeid said.